Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby Raccoons

We called an exterminator last week to take care of a large raccoon which had taken up residence in our walls- you can read that chapter of the saga here. As it turns out, IT was a SHE, and she was a mommy. We now have three or four baby raccoons hanging around our house. They're barely old enough to climb, and while I've lost track of one or two of them, there are a couple bundled together on a tree limb beside the house. The poor things can't figure out where to go, and last night the temperature dropped. I feel like such a jerk. *sigh*.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

php|tek in the Windy City

I'm sitting in the keynote for php|tek, Chicago. I just realized that these developers are not necessarily here tring to keep php vital because they believe it's the best language out there, or because it's the best way to do things, although they may very well believe those things. They are here trying to keep php vital because if php becomes obsolete (and if I understand correctly, eventually it will), so will they. These conferences are life and livelihood for them. That puts a new spin on things for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Broken Glass II

A continuation and conclusion of Broken Glass.
16 May 2008, 7:45

I swept them into a dustpan,
gingerly picked them from the debris
found a plethora of remnants,
despaired of binding up
the shattered
bits of broken glass.

That was years ago, and I’ve found
glass, like water, flows-
sharp edges dull, and pain becomes
less dagger-deadly. This side of eternity,
I turn irregular crystals in my fingers,
gather each and every prism
in the basin of my self, fearing less
for those which harbor yet
a razor’s edge- I am less apt to bleed,
swifter to heal,
having mended what had been so broken,
had lain unhealed for so very long.

Inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Water is Wide

Despite my very, very verbal nature, when I grieve, I have a tendency to retreat.

I heard a song a while back called "The Water is Wide." It serves as a reminder to me that I need not grieve alone. Most especially, I should allow those closest to me to participate in the process and help me not to go insane.

"The water is wide, I can't swim o'er,
nor either have I wings to fly.
Give me a boat that can carry two
and both shall row, my Love and I."

Author unknown

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Retreating over Coffee
7 May 2008, 8:53 AM

Life is all around us at this table-
an amalgam of grief for the past,
joy in the present, anxiety for the future.
They mix and meld as I learn to feel them
freely, purely and unapologetically, knowing
even as I look behind, hide my eyes
from what's ahead, I'd never trade
the one thing that has only ever meant
goodness and light, even when we tap
a little too deeply the surface of the pain
and the cup overflows. We spill just a few
drops of this precious vintage- leave
a stain on the carpet as we retreat
into our morning coffee and nutella.

Monday, May 05, 2008


5 May 2008, 12:43 PM
Bernice Imogene Pope

I didn’t know I’d never go back.
Grandmother stood in her cotton dress,
Granddad in blue coveralls as always,
waving goodbye for the last time.

We learn to count on so few things.
Even those certainties don’t last. I know.
I understand, but am caught off guard
when an intangible familiarity in an unfamiliar
face joins inevitability with my passive
acceptance of the unrelenting passage of Time.

In the space of a moment, I lose Grandmother
once more. I know I will never sit with her
again at that pale yellow formica countertop
making biscuits at the crack of dawn,
and I can be certain of nothing else.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Melancholy Peace

2 May 2008, 7:09 AM

The torrents come and salt
stings my eyes, rubs in wounds
which should have been long healed.
But this salt solution finds its way
to places still raw, tender to the touch.
Through blinding sheets I cannot see
to tend the wound, so I huddle close,
cling to you, hope the storm will pass,
wear out itself instead of me. The salt
may cauterize these aching lacerations
so summer may find us the humbler,
resting in a melancholy peace.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

White-Robed Sorrow

I wrote once about George MacDonald's book, _Phantastes_. My life was a chaotic whirlpool of grief and throbbing wounds at the time, and being the non-linear, analytical thinker that I am, MacDonald's fantastic worlds and seemingly random images of beauty, love, grief and the like touched me so deeply. Today I ran across one of the passages which meant the most to me, and I wrote the following about it to my husband:

"There's this scene where [the narrator and main character of the story] is floating along in a boat, making his way down river, and he catches a glimpse of a woman in white running through the woods alongside him. She stays with him right up to the castle. It was, for me, an image of the wounds we receive being faithful to lead us on to something else if we let them- to redemption I guess, cliche though that may sound. But one certainly cannot see it as such when the wounds are fresh and throbbing.

That scene in the book is a gift to me, because the character, and therefore the reader, is given a moment to stand back from the pain and view it somewhat objectively. To see the very thing that wounds us running along beside us in white, weeping for us, leading us on to redemption, is so very beautiful. I remember, though, that it made my heart ache for the woman in the woods. She was just a metaphor for other things, but I guess I think of her as almost a part of ourselves- the part that is wounded and has been lost in so many ways, and cannot completely enter into the joy of the present."

I need to go back and read that book again.

"As in all sweetest music, a tinge of sadness was in every note. Nor do we know how much of the pleasures even of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the doors she may not enter. Almost we linger with Sorrow for very love."

George MacDonald, Phantastes

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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